Are you tired of having to tame tantrums when you try to minimise your toddler's TV time? Try this mum's simple but clever technique!
TV addiction may have sounded like an exaggeration ten years ago, but these days it has become a reality. And those who are dependent on television are getting younger and younger. Even toddlers are constantly glued to TV screens.
Many mums and dads would be embarrassed to admit that their toddlers can’t get enough of TV. But with all of life’s demands, the TV can become our go-to helper to keep kids quiet and amused. It’s natural for this to happen without parents noticing.
But there are ways to correct this behaviour before it’s too late.
One mum shared the clever hack that worked for her which has gone viral since it was posted on Reddit. After just a month, many have praised her for the simple but brilliant solution she came up with.
She first admitted that, in order to keep her two-year-old quiet, she let him watch TV at four a.m., which is when he usually wakes up.
But then once he got his way, he started demanding to watch television constantly. He would even have meltdowns whenever his mum would tell him he could not watch TV.
Until one morning, the mum noticed the remote was missing. They tried looking for it, but couldn’t find it. This is when everything changed.
“We looked for 10 minutes until my son happily gave up and decided to eat breakfast,” she recalled. “I had time for five minutes peace and then we went and hung out in his room. The next day I decided to hide it again. We looked for it but he soon gave up again without being upset. This morning was day three and TV wasn’t the first thing on his mind. Amazing!”
Though her son got upset at first, he slowly became less dependent on the TV. His mum happily reported that he has started exploring their flat and even plays with his pet cat and other toys.
Naturally, parents replied on the Reddit thread, sharing their own experience.
“My 20 month old is obsessed with Daniel and Dora. If she’s gone past what I feel is an appropriate amount of screen time I tell her that it’s their nap time. She’s cool with that and she goes and plays,” wrote one parent.
Despite parents’ fears, letting your little one watch their favourite shows doesn’t always lead to TV addiction. One mum agrees:
“My husband has to travel for several days and sometimes the TV is my helper. I try to choose educational shows and good cartoons, that’s all,” she writes.
How can you tell if your child is on the road to TV addiction? First, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my child watching television and not doing anything else with his time?
- Has my child become introverted, wanting to spend more time with the TV rather than socialising?
- Does he throw a massive fit when told to limit TV time or when it’s time to turn the TV off?
If you answered yes to some or all of the above, then it’s time to consider taking measures to help correct this behaviour. Aside from hiding the remote, here are other techniques to try.
5 ways to correct your toddler’s TV addiction
Stay-at-home mum Denise Thong writes in an article for Medium, that she believes mums like her allow kids to simply watch television because they have no other activities in mind.
The key, she believes, lies in not simply turning the television off, but making sure your daily schedule is filled with activities both mum and tot can enjoy together.
1. Enjoy the great outdoors
Go for walks in the park or visit a playground. Try to explore your community. Is there a library or museum nearby? Try to introduce new experiences that won’t just entertain but will also enrich them.
Set up playdates or take them to child-friendly events where they can interact with other toddlers. This change in routine will break the habit of turning to the television for entertainment.
3. Home-based enrichment classes
With you as their teacher, bond while learning with your kid. Use flash cards, picture books, and other educational toys to facilitate learning! Tailor it to your child’s interests. Is your little one fascinated by astronomy or animals? This will not only give your little one more knowledge, but it will help her feel closer to you.
4. Manage your own screen time
As always, being a good role model is of prime importance, even when it comes to TV and media consumption. Toddlers love to mimic their mummies and if they see you glued to a screen, then they’ll be inclined to do the same.
5. Get creative!
Providing fun alternatives like crafts, games and reading time can help them forget about the big black box. Try introducing new books, game boards, colouring books, sticker books, or anything that will keep them mentally stimulated.
How do you help minimise TV time in your home, mums and dads? Let us know in the comments below.